50 Years of Umko 1966 - 2016 1966 - 2016 - Page 55

Paul Chalupsky and Tony Scott stop to empty the boat. We finally caught them at the start of the flat water at Goodenough’s Weir – which in normal conditions was only shootable through a specific chute on the right. At this level the chute was not identifiable and we chose to portage, and at the put-in we dumped the nose of our boat next to Robbie and Rowan (who had made the same choice). Then came Paul’s classic comment, in his special race-day German accent …”dat’s your bundle”. Robbie Stewart: “Scottie and Paul were paddling better than Rowan and me then, but by taking the tiger line on every rapid we were well ahead until we hit a bloody big rock in that last big rapid before the weir – I think we called it House Rock – I went through my footrest which meant that steering was a bit of a challenge. The only mistake we made in the race. Well, that plus not shooting Goodenough’s Weir – I can remember being at the bottom and jumping up and down to see if we could see Paul and Scottie – no sign of them but we struggled in the flat water after the weir with all the swirls in the river. I could not steer the boat in the turbulent water – even on the flat water it was swirling – because the rudder was not working. Rowan and I still led the race almost to the last bridge before Umkomaas, but Scottie and Paul caught us not far from the end and beat us by less than a minute.” Paul Chalupsky: “I paddled with Tony Scott in the “Queen Mary” (a modified “Big Water Accord”). He recalls, “We had a massive swim on day one. On day three we were chasing Robbie Stewart and Rowan Rasmussen. We caught them after Goodenough’s Weir and Scotty reminded me later that as we passed them I said to Robbie, “That’s Your Bundle”. We went on to win in record time.” Postscripts: Patching: Afte r every river race Poppa (Paul’s father) would resurface his boats back to mint condition. After this race he didn’t need to service the boat – we didn’t touch a single rock in 145kms, says Scotty. The future: With the imminent building of the Smithfield dam above Bald Ibis Falls (upstream from Hella Hella near Deepdale) the days of really big Umkos may sadly be numbered. The race may become more manageable, but the unpredictable sheer-thrill adventure aspect will be tamed. We tame everything, don’t we? Memories: Thank goodness we still have these nine veterans of the Summer of 1972 able to record this great race at its wildest for us to treasure! 55 UMKO 50 Years